Another work-related accident in this 2024. A 23-year-old man from Arezzo was working in a car repair shop in Montepulciano, in the province of Siena, coming from an external company. The cause of his death seems to be a blow to the chest from a tube that fell off a trailer. Firefighters, the helicopter rescue team, law enforcement, and personnel from the hygiene and safety prevention department of the local health authority arrived to rescue him. Unfortunately, there was nothing to do for the young man.

This is the third serious workplace accident in recent times. Just 10 days have passed since the explosion at the Bargi hydroelectric plant, known as the Suviana Massacre, in the province of Bologna, which involved 7 fatalities and 5 injuries. The causes of the explosion are still unknown, but from the survivors’ accounts, we know that the explosion was not sudden; previously there were warnings and abnormal noises. They also speak of a loud noise coming from the lower floors of the reinforced concrete structure. Subsequently, very high quantities of oil were found in the water near the plant.

Last February another significant accident occurred in Tuscany, after the collapse of a construction site in Florence, in the Rifredi area, which resulted in the deaths of 5 workers and 3 injuries. The collapse of one of the load-bearing beams of the structure left no escape for those beneath.

A couple of months later, on April 20th, a 23-year-old Egyptian died, crushed by a compactor in Milan, more specifically in Cusago. The young man worked for Convertini Ltd., a waste processing company. The exact circumstances of his death are still uncertain.

The following day, on April 21st, at the Riva del Garda Paper Mills, while working, the arm of a 40-year-old worker got trapped in a machine. Within minutes, firefighters from the area, rescue operators, and law enforcement arrived on the scene. The latter had already begun investigating the causes of the incident. After receiving initial treatment on-site, the man was airlifted to the Santa Chiara Hospital in Trento.

As of today, April 23rd, the number of workplace fatalities in 2024 has reached 119. In 2023, the number exceeded a thousand. It is clear, therefore, that despite various laws and regulations, workplace safety remains a sore point.

In 2008, the Unified Text for workplace safety was formulated. Law 81/2008 includes all the rules to be followed in a single document. The last update dates back to November 2023. It is taught in schools and to all individuals before allowing them to work through a mandatory course.

Currently, there are 4,540,634 active companies in Italy (source: Istat 2021) compared to just 3,500 Prevention Technicians responsible for safety oversight. Staffing levels are significantly understaffed, with the increase should follow the European Union benchmarking, which recommends one inspector for every ten thousand workers. Therefore the aim is to improve the prevention of workplace accidents and occupational diseases to align with the “zero victims” approach (Vision Zero – EU Commission Objectives for 2021-2027).

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